Saturday, March 19, 2011

Clermont/Orlando FL 3-2011

     Hi, here we are back at the Orlando Thousand Trails Resort.  We will be here till the 20th then go to Lazy days for some work on the RV.  We were only back a day when we got to have lunch with good friends Jim and Linda.  They are still working at Disney and had some extra passes they gave to us to use.  We will use them to go to Epcot to see the Flower and Garden exhibits.  We have never seen the Flower and Garden exhibit, so looking forward to it, and seeing other friends that may be working when we get there.
      We also got to meet up with my cousin Jane and her husband Nick.  We met them at the Catfish House in St. Cloud.  A great place to eat.  We must have ate there with them about four or five times this year.  The food is super and the prices great.
            At thousand Trails we are backed up to a big field in the back of the park.  There are two Sand Cranes with babies.  Neat to see, two different age groups.  Linda did get a few pictures.  Little did I know when I married her 45 years ago that she had a camera attracted to her arm.  She goes everywhere with it.  I'm sure glad I have a delete button on the computer.   But as long as she enjoys taking pictures, I enjoy looking at them.  While here we also saw a rocket lunch, or the vapor trail from it. The rocket could been seen while looking at it., but did not show up in the photo's. It was just ahead of the vapor trail and appeared as a silver spect in the sky.  We did go to the Webster flea market, and it is bigger then ever. You do need a couple of days to see it all, without just walking by rows and rows of you name it.
    It's one thing when we meet old friends, but Blazer meeting old friends!  Well it happened.  Banjo came to visit and a new friend Molly.  Both his friends are from Canada.  So I guess he has international friends. While talking about Blazer, we have some bad news. While at the vet getting his shots updated they found he has a heart mummer.  They said don't run him.  Keep him calm.  Oh yell!  They don't know Blazer.  We will just walk him and not run him when we bike ride.  We will try to limit play time.  You that know Blazer know this is going to be a challenge.  We will get a second opinion, when we get back to PA. His vet is opening a new practice in Bethlehem.
     We did The Flower and Garden show at Disney's Epcot. When we thoughy they couldn't beat the Christmas displays, we were wrong.  WOW!  Wow says it all. It was fantastic.  Below you will find just a sampling of pictures Linda took.  The topiary Disney characters were super.  We had a super day, and the weather was great.  Sunny and about 85.  We could tell the people who came from the north as they were so "white" they looked "bleached".  The sun tan location was flowing.   One of the highlights was eating at the German Biergarten restaurant.  Linda's favorite.  Another highlight was seeing Chubby Checker.  He looked great and had boundless energy.  It was a great day. Thanks Linda and Jim.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

South Bay FL 3/3-3/10/11

     Welcome new followers Diane and Andy, they are fellow Escapees.  We had met them in Alaska in 2009. Safe travel and hope to meet you on the road soon.
     We had planed to go to the Everglades and stay in the Park.  BUT,  we were having trouble with our water pump in the RV.  I added a little extra water to our fresh water holding tank and tried the pump. Couldn't get it to work at all.  We do have an appointment to get it fixed, later this month.   It was working but kept loosing it prime. It would have been ok, but now it won't work at all. So we detoured a little and are staying at a super county park in South Bay. So we will have to do the Everglades another time.
    We are having a ball with our wii. Linda beats me in bowling almost ever game.  Once she had seven strikes in a row, in two different games, but that is impressive. We tried a lot of the other games,but keep coming back to the bowling.
      We were not to far from Palm Beach  so went over for a visit.  Very busy, not our cup of tea.  The next day we went to Fort Lauderdale. Also very busy . Friends Ed and Vivian, Lonnie and Betty who are staying in Moore Haven about 30 miles away stopped over for a visit. Other then that, we just hung out at the RV Park.  Did a little fishing at the park, but didn't do any good.  It was good to just relax for a few days. See the pictures in our reveiw of this park.
       On the 11th we left South Bay and camet to the Orlando Thousand Trails Park.  We did decide to save the Everglades for another time. We will be here till the 20th. Then we are going to Lazy  Days for some work on the RV. After that we will head north . We have to be in Pigeon forge TN on the 28th.
       The reason for going to Pigeon Forge is to start work at Dollywood.  We had applied in 2008 for  Oct and Nov. But at that time they said they didn't need us and would keep are application on file.  Well guess what, they did keep our applications on file. They called and email us  about coming to work this spring. So we said yes.  We will spend spring in the Rocky mountains.  Had a few friends work there and they said it was a fun time. Friends Paul and Sandy who volunteer with us at Anastasia State Park in Fl are also going to work there also. They are staying in the same RV Park.  That will be fun to be with them again. We are looking forward to the experience.

South Bay RV Campground-South Bay FL 3/3-3/10/11

Site: We had site 148. It was a double wide very level paved site.  There was a very large grass area on both sides of our paved area.  Behind us was a small canal.  There were small gators in the cannel. Site was very spacious.  In front was a double wide paved road.  It was a full hook up with 50 amp electric. There was a picnic table and a grill. We did have a few large trees on our site. Not all sites have trees.  There are 72 sites, about 10 are double wide paved. About 25 are 50 amp, others are 30 amp.
Laundry; There are 2 washers and dryers in each of the 2 restrooms.  Washer $1.25, dryers .75.  Very clean. Partily opened and screened in area in entry to restrooms .
TV,Phone,Wifi; Cable TV with about 70 channels. Verizon phone worked well, 3-4 bars. Wifi worked great.
Dog friendly; Very large area to walk your dog. No fenced in area. There is a large area like a tennis court without lines and a 10 foot high fence. I did see some people letting their dogs run in there.
Amenities; There is a small club house/game room. Limited planned activities. A few swings for the kids.
Location; South Bay is on US 27, in South centural FL.  The park is about 1/4 mile from Lake Okeechobee.
Summary;  This is one of the nicest public parks we ever stayed in. This is a super park with a very friendly staff.  The rates are: for out of County residents $27.75 -day;$166.50-week; $693.50 month;extra vehicle(not sure if this would include a boat) $4.25,$25.44,$106. We were in the back loop. The front loop is along route US27 and there is a lot of road noise.
We would consider spending a month or more here if it wouldn't be for the $4.25 a day extra charge for an extra car. First time I ever saw this type charge. There is a gate that is locked at night. There is a pond and a canal/channel around the the campground. There is a boat launch on Lake Okeechobee about 1/4 mile away.  There is a street light about every 4 sites.  Good lighting at night. Good bike riding in park.  About 6 miles to a Winn Dixie and 16 to a super Walmart. Few resturants in the area. This is a small town with not a lot of amenities. Very poor signage to park. Very easy to miss if coming from the north.
Bonus; Lake Okeechobee  right aside of park. On top of the Dike surrounding the lake, 140+ miles, is a hiking/biking trail. About half of it is paved. Great birding area.
Our site is behind the big tree on the right.
These last 3 pictures taken from the top of the Dike behind our site.
Our site is on the left, behind the tree, you can see our truck.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New look of our RV Park reviews-our take on RV Parks

    Hope you like the new look of our park reviews.  Rather then having it just run in long paragraphs,  we are trying to categorize it. We will not rate it by some numbering system. We will try to tell it like we see it and try to include some pictures. If you need more information, just email us and we will try to answer your questions. As full timers we look at the cost of RV Parks a little different them weekenders/part timers. One of the cost we can control in were we stay.  When paying 365 days a year for a site, discounts are very important to us. No one like paying the full rack rate(as they call it in the hotel business).  Any discount is better then none.  We look for the best value for our dollar.  We will not sacrifice safety or stay in a very poor quality park just for a better price.  Things like playground equipment is not important to us, and the fact it's not there is a plus for us.  Also showers and restrooms are not important to us, as we use our own.  We will report on them if we check them out.  Laundries are important to us, as we use them.  Dog friendly is important to us. Also big rig friendly-very important.  We try to do a search on the parks we go to, but can't always find out to much. We rely on other rver's info, on their blogs, and in sites like   We do look at the parks website if they have one for information. However when did you see a RV park show a picture of something and say this is our worst site etc.  Many websites do not show the sites, only the pool, game room etc..Show us whats important.  This is why we are adding reviews to our blog- to maybe help some one else. We will try to include photos for each park. It is also a reminder to us, as our blog is our journal.  The most important thing, is this is our opinion, yours may vary or other things may be more important to you.   Things like price, specials, ownerships, club affiliation, etc change.  We are not trying to replace any directories. So if you find somthing different or a better park in the area let us know.  If we return to a park we will update it. Please bear with us as we try to critique our RV park review.

Whisper Creek RV Resort LaBelle FL 2/21-3/3/2011

    We are here on two specials. First, 3 free days no strings attacked, special from Tampa RV Show.   Second a $99. "Stay and Play" for 4 days. This for a sales presentation for lots they are selling in their new section of the resort. A new section in a old park.  The new section will be a HOA.  Very clean and well maintained..   So far we had a very nice boat ride on the Caloosahatchie.  We also had a two great  lunches. All parts of the sales presentation, Very very nice. The older section is about 75% park models and 25% RVs. A couple of hundred sites. Very, very, very well maintained.
Facilities:  Lots are 50 X 60, back in site, large for a private park.  Site is very level grass.  No picnic table.  No shade. No privacy between sites. FHU w/50 amp electric. Double wide paved roads.  Very well laid out.  Very well lit at night. Some road noise. As stated above sites are very large for a private park.
Laundry: There is a very clean laundry.
TV, Phone, Wifi: There is cable in the new sections, but not all lots are activated.  We had a lot where it worked very well, about 60-70 channels.   Over the air TV is good.   Our Verizon cell phone worked very well.  There is also wifi which worked well.
Dog Friendly: Dog friendly.  No large open areas to walk or run your pet, but plenty of roads to walk around the park.
Amenities: There is a heated pool.  There are 2 club houses.  Shuffle board courts.  A small library.  A exercise area.  A small pond for fishing. Many, many scheduled activities.
Location: South central FL. About 30 miles from downtown Fort Myers.  About 1 mile from public boat launch on the Caloosahatie River, part of the intercostal waterway.  About 30 miles to Lake Okeechobee.   Two groceries stores in town, about 1 mile to a Save a Lot and about 3 miles to a Winn Dixie. A few restaurants in town and 4 or 5 fast food places.  Nearest hospital is in Fort Myers. Only mention this as we were here looking at lots and that is important to  us if staying put for 5-6 months.
Summary: Miles of roads in park to ride your bike or walk. Very very friendly staff and workers.

Comment: We would stay here again if we could get some type of a discount. The $40 daily rate and $240 weekly is a little to high.  Monthly is $930 + electric.  We did get to stay 3 extra days for free because we were considering a lot.   Forgot- they only accept cash or checks, no credit cards.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

LaBelle FL 2/21-2/28/2011

  While at Labelle we went back to The glades RV Resort to a fish fry.  Our friends Ed and Lon caught enough fish to have a fish fry. After the great fish fry we went to play Bingo at the park. In our group of six, Linda and I are the only ones who haven't won.
    The reason we came to LaBelle is for the "Swamp Cabbage Festival".  There is such a thing as swamp cabbage.  It is made from the sabal palm.  This is the state tree of FL.  Swamp cabbage is the heart of the palm that is boiled and season.   It was a food source that supplemented the early settles.
        Friends Dianne and Marvin from  Cape Coral came over to go to the festival with us.   Well we tried the 'swamp cabbage" and all decided we only needed one taste and that was enough.  It was very bland tasting.  We did talk to several folks that said it was what they were raised on it, and it was great.  I guess it must be a acquired taste.
      Before we tried the "cabbage" we watched the "Swamp Cabbage" parade.  A nice small parade with three small school bands from town.  Two of the bands didn't have uniforms.  They just wore white shirts and jeans.  But they were dedicated to playing and marching.  This is a small town and I guess uniforms are not part of the school budget.  I remember all the fund raisers we helped with for uniforms when our kids were in the band.  Don't want to do  that again.  The look may be different but if you close your eyes the music sounds the same.   The most unusual thing in the parade was a few "swamp Buggies".  A few had tires on them that must have been 10-12 foot tall.  They do have swamp buggy rides and races.  We are still amazed at how there is a uniqueness of each area of the county.  People adopt to their different areas and climates with so many interesting ways of life.  There are probably thousands of different festivals in this great county of ours, celebrating different areas and cultures.  It is great finding some of these in our travels.
       Did you ever bet on a Armadillo race?   Well we did.  The local Jaycees use armadillo races as a fund raiser for scholarships.  Oh what the heck, "petea" wasn't around so we placed a bet on number three, "Belle" .  Well she/he lost.   But Dianne bet on number five and he/she won.  She won a hat.  Well it was for a good cause.  In fairness to the Jaycees, they captured 17 armadillos and switch them through out the day. After the races they are given a big helping of crickets and turned loose in the area they where caught in.
          There were other things like lawn mower races, a bass fishing tournament and a rodeo. They had a swamp cabbage queen and princess, several bands and lots of food.  It was a warn sunny day of about 85 degrees.  Not to hard to take for February. It was fun and we got to see  a lot of different thinks.
The fish fry. Friends Ed and Vivian and Betty and Lon.
Friends Diane and Marvin
Our guy came in Last. But Linda said he/she is cute!